Policy and Research Manager
Constance has been involved in education research and policy in the academic and policy worlds for over a decade. She’s worked for various education non-profits including Education Sector, where she published her first co-authored reports with her education policy heroes and mentors; Dr. Peter Cookson and Dr. John Chubb, respectively. The fast pace of the policy world was exciting but Constance had an appetite to continue her learning in an academic environment. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Politics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. During her first four years completing coursework requirements at Teachers College, Constance worked on several issues: cross-sector collaborations in education (collective impact); school choice; racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps; segregation and integration patterns in education; and the educational benefits of diversity. She continues to examine issues around race and inclusion for my dissertation project.
Constance received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy, with honors, from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where she was a proud member of the W&M Dance Team. After working for a year at the Council for Aid to Education, she spent two months exploring the eastern coast of Australia and New Zealand – having many adventures there including skydiving. After the trip of a lifetime, she pursued a Masters of Arts in Government at The University of Texas – Austin. It was here where she discovered her love of hot-style yoga (which she now teachers), became a group fitness instructor of Zumba and AquaZumba, fostered dogs, and adopted a dog of her own, a Cavalier King Charles and cocker spaniel mix, Bella, who turned ten last summer!
I aspire to be like Mr. Rogers. Here’s why:
I remember going to Mister Rogers’ neighborhood all the time growing up. Mister Rogers was patient, kind, insightful, and helped me learn and think about the world around me. He introduced me to the joys of figuring things out. Mister Rogers taught me to leave the world a little better than how I found it. In addition to our shared commitment to the welfare of children, I aspire to always be patient, kind, and insightful as I discuss, advocate, write, and conduct research on race, access, and equity – very sensitive subjects.
Why I love my job:
Supporting state policy agenda’s through research and data-driven evidence is exciting to me. I am happy to contribute to the policy process and legislation in multiple states, each making strides to improve education and have a direct effect on the lives of children. With my background and training, I feel like I have been preparing my whole life for this role – serving as a thought partner, exploring innovative policy efforts, and providing research support as 50CAN develops its long term policy vision.
My connection to public schools:
I attended Weston Public Schools nestled on a bucolic campus in Weston, CT. My father drove me to school one day and asked about caution tape surrounding an area of one of the buildings. I explained that the school was preparing to add additional classrooms. He laughed and said, “When I passed caution tape on my way to school it meant someone got shot.” My father attended public school in the inner-city Bronx, New York. For me, caution tape meant construction; for my father, yellow caution tape meant murder and violence. We both went to our neighborhood public schools. I am fiercely devoted to finding ways to remedy this incredible injustice.
What I’m bad at:
Singing – But that doesn’t stop me!
This image represents why I work at 50CAN:
This sculpture by Augustine Rodin, Le Penseur, or The Thinker, represents the power of thought. Le Penseur is meant to be the embodiment of all creators, drawing new life from imagination – A universal symbol that represents “in physical terms the mental effort and energy, and even anguish of creativity.”
“What makes my Thinker think is that he thinks not only with his brain, with his knitted brow, his distended nostrils and compressed lips, but with every muscle of his arms, back, and legs, with his clenched fist and gripping toes.” -Rhodin
With every fiber of my being, I think about how we can create an educational system that is more inclusive and accessible to everyone, regardless of race or income. I believe it takes all kinds to achieve this goal – the teachers and school leaders, the parents, the community, the advocates, the policymakers…, and les penseures.